Where to get your vintage appliances fixed?

atomicbowlers-dave-and-laura-460

Lots of readers are struggling to find cost-effective ways to get their vintage appliances — stoves, fridges, stovetops, dishwashers — repaired safely and cost-effectively. Atomicbowler-dave recently provided this advice, which is in synch, I think, with successes other readers have had:

Where to turn to get your vintage appliances repaired? Dave suggests:

I can’t help but wonder on the parts issue… There are certainly times and places where a certain amount of substitution and reverse-engineering of sorts can go a long way.
Certainly, no one should monkey in places they are unsure or uncomfortable when it comes to items that could cause fire, shock or injury.
One thing I have observed, experienced and often engaged in…whether with boats, obscure foreign and antique cars, old equipment, appliances, etc…is a certain amount of mix-and-match and/or artful adaptation. Where there is a will, there is often a way.
I am often leery myself of too much advice bantered about via the internet as one really can’t see, meet or know the source and get a solid feeling for the person’s real acumen.
I’m a big fan of solid, experienced, local people if they can be found. I am an even bigger fan of the “old guys”–most of whom are by now retired or gone on away–who collected the tribal knowlege and also came from an era more imbued with need and willingness for make-do. Heck, most of the ‘ability’ or ‘knowledge’ that I have? Whatever it is that tends to put me in the topkick roles professionally? I learned it from old guys who are now gone, most of it…or at least the foundation that I’ve had to build my own on. (Before my head sounds swelled, let me say that when I get compliments, extra respect or whatever in these jobs, I hold private feelings of unworthiness…because I know who the real hotdogs were, and that I’m not half of them. Just that they’re gone, and that I listened to some of them when they were still around.) The sad part is that I only learned bits and pieces of what these fellows spent decades learning!
My point here–and I do have one–is that in dealing with obscure and obsolete things it can often be best to seek out the retirees or the guys that just keep their hands in part-time…if at all possible. These fellows are usually of the type to know both what TO do and what NOT to do, but also have the historical background to say ‘Hey, I bet I could make the kanooten valve from xyz item work in here’.
If you can find this sort of ‘professional’ help, it’s likely the best of all. There can be some great personal benefits for everyone, too. Good luck with those appliances, I sort of envy your present challenges as I don’t yet have my own cool kitchen to cope with!
Dave

Thanks, Dave. I love the idea of finding retirees or long-time, hometown shops that have a real history with old appliances and are willing to patiently work though the issues with you. I can’t recall exactly – but I *think* it was Gretchen in Sacramento who also recently reported success with her Thermador cooktop working with a smaller, local shop. (Gretchen, am I right? Can you weigh in?) So it can be done. Meanwhile, Precautionary Pam weighs in: Work with licensed professionals. Do not mess with stuff you don’t understand. Empower yourself with your own thoroughly researched knowledge about safety and environmental issues in your vintage home.

Finally, the awesome photo gets an explanation: Dave and Laura go by the handles here of atomicbowler-dave and atomicbowler-laura. What a pair! Dave explains that Laura’s favorite colors are turquoise and pink, so he bought here this new (vintage-look) bowling ball last year for her birthday. 🙂

Be-Safe-graphic2.3

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Comments

  1. Lee says

    I am looking for someone in the Rochester to Syracuse NY area to repair/restore a circa 1940’s A-B gas range.
    Thank you for any assistance you can provide.

    • Karoline says

      Lee, I am in the Rochester area. Did you ever find someone to repair or restore your range? I have a refrigerator from 1941 that I would like to restore. Please send me your source if you found someone local.

  2. Nancy from KC says

    All these stories are making me nervous! I still own my 1920’s Detroit Vapor Gas Stove that was in my first house in Kansas. It worked when I pulled it out of that house in 1999, but it needs to be brought up to today’s safety standards. I have tried to find someone locally without luck. Has anyone taken on this job by themselves? Can anyone recommend a place even remotely close to KC that I could try for restoration help. I know about all the on-line places, I’m looking for any other suggestions on restoring this old work-horse.

    • pam kueber says

      See our story about places that sell refurbished stoves. Use search box, it should take you right there.

  3. silvia says

    i found a guy in burbank who will look at old appliances like toasters!! william czappa, arc repair, 818.848.9998. so excited i wanted to share, he cleaned my toast-o-lator and it is back to its usual glory. 🙂

  4. Jan says

    I am interested in buying a Sears Country Kitchen stove. Around 1970, I believe.
    Like the photo on blog.,
    Can anyone help?

    • pam kueber says

      See Kitchen Help/Appliances and/or use our Search box to get to our stories on where to find old stoves.

  5. barb elder says

    I have an old (1950’s I would guess)Frigidaire Cold Pantry refrigerator that I would love to get repaired! It was hauled home standing upright in a trailer ,but when plugged in would not work. I’m looking for someone in the Iowa City area that would be willing to look at it for me. Thanks so much–it’s a real beauty!!!

  6. Dorothy Alig says

    I have the original 1953 Thermador appliances (Wall over, warming drawer and 48″ cooktop) that were installed in my 1953 mid Century home in Indianapolis. The oven just died (on Thanksgiving–of course!) I have it at one repair shop that has experience with appliances of this vintage but they aren’t optimistic about resuscitating it. Any suggestions? It would be a shame to replace it.
    Thanks. Dot

  7. Julie says

    I LOVE YOU where have you been all of my life!!?!?!?! I am going to single handedly send your children and possibly your grandchildren as well…,to college!

  8. Gunard McIntosh says

    I have a philco model H736 refrigerator that I really would like to repair. It as been around since I was a child(I’m 51) and it just recently stopped working. I’m in Detroit, MI.

    • pam kueber says

      Gunard, we don’t fix things here. Refer to the resources mentioned in this story. Also see another story we have in the Kitchen Help/Appliances category – at the top

  9. John Graetz says

    I am looking for drip pans for a 1950s Tappan gas stove. The stove has row storage areas on either side of the oven. On the left side are 3 crispers and on the right is the value to turn on the oven and storage for cookie sheets and a salt and pepper set. Do you have a source for these drip pans?

    • pam kueber says

      Hi John, I don’t know the answer to this. Try The Old Appliance Club online, they might know. Good luck!

  10. Tina Mintz says

    I just bought a 1930s magic chef oven and it’s in great shape but I’d like to have it updated to today’s standards. I’m in East Tennessee not far from Knoxville Tn. Can anyone help?

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